July 25, 2024
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Sara Knoll Is Inspired by the Learning and Spirituality at MMY

Sara Knoll is studying at Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim in Jerusalem. She grew up in Teaneck, attended the Moriah School for elementary school and Frisch for high school. Her family davens at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun.

Her next stop? Stern College for Women.

Why did you choose to study at MMY?

I’m currently studying at Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim (MMY). I chose MMY for a number of reasons. The learning at MMY is on a high level and very intellectually stimulating, while at the same time very spiritual and meaningful. The Midrasha encourages an open-minded environment, and many different hashkafot are presented. The girls here are motivated to learn and grow spiritually and in Torah knowledge, and are so warm and friendly. I also love the emphasis MMY places on chavruta learning, which stresses the importance of learning from each other while studying a text.

What kind of goals do you have for the year?

Before arriving in Israel, I tried to set goals for myself that were reasonable. I wanted to challenge myself in the selection of my shiurim and my learning in general. I also wanted to improve my chavruta learning skills, as it is something I wasn’t as comfortable with but excited to improve. Also, I really wanted to experience Israel and the different opportunities the country has to offer.

What have been some of the highlights of your year so far?

One of the most exciting moments so far has been doing kaparot with a live chicken. It was so surreal performing this custom with a diverse group of other Jews, all following the same traditions in our Jewish homeland.

The most inspiring moment was a kumzitz we had during our shabbaton in Tzfat. After a long day of fun activities, we all went to the shul of Rav Yosef Karo, the author of the Shulchan Aruch, and sang songs and danced with so much enthusiasm. At that moment, I realized that at the start of my year at MMY the girls sitting next to me were total strangers, but now we are becoming lifelong friends.

What kind of challenges have you faced coming to Israel?

Being away from home is probably the most challenging part of the year so far. I’ve been accustomed to seeing my family almost every day, so being away is different from what I’ve been used to. I miss doing homework and watching TV with my sister during the week, but it is always nice to catch up whenever we can.

How has your year been different from your expectations?

I expected the transition to seminary life to be very difficult regarding the constant learning and life away from home. Thankfully, the transition went very smoothly and I look forward to learning each day and building on my relationships with new friends and teachers in a warm environment. I felt prepared for the year, having spoken to several people in advance about realistic expectations for the year in Israel.

Where is your favorite place to go for weekends/Shabbat so far?

It’s only the beginning of the year, but my favorite place to go for Shabbat so far is to Beit Shemesh. It’s nice spending time with my family there, since I don’t see them very often. Our Tzfat shabbaton was very nice as well, and davening at the Beirav Carlebach shul was a very meaningful experience.

What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?

I’m looking forward to the continued learning I have yet to tap into and experiencing Israel with my friends.

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